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Sears website buckled on Black Friday

The online bargain-hunting on Black Friday caused problems for several e-commerce websites, but none was affected worse than The website buckled under the pressure of the increased visitor numbers and was unavailable for large parts of the day.

The Sears website initially just started timing out or responding with an internal server error message (HTTP error 500). It later started redirecting visitors to a temporary maintenance page that stated, “We’re sorry, is temporarily closed for site enhancements.” (Screenshot below.)

However, a lot of the time even this maintenance page could not be delivered, when requests to the website either timed out or resulted in an internal server error, like the example below (captured by Pingdom’s monitoring service):

Several other retailers had problems with their websites as well, though not to the same extent as Sears did. StorefrontBacktalk, a news website focused on retail and e-commerce, followed the development during Black Friday with the help of several monitoring services (including Pingdom) and has posted information about several Black Friday incidents.


Any bets on who will buckle this year?


  1. [...] Our goal is to help people alleviate the pain of testing the scalability of modern web applications. For many such applications, scalability can be a major source of problems for as long as they remain in active development. It doesn’t help matters that scalability issues don’t get the attention they deserve until actual damage is done. [...]

  2. [...] Sears had to be closed for site enhancements during the Black Friday. The maintenance page provides users with further navigation options – such as Lands’ End, Parts Direct and Sears Credit (via). [...]

  3. [...] Sears 不得不在黑色星期五关闭以增强网站。这个维护页面为用户提供更多的导航选项——比如Lands’ End, Parts Direct 和Sears Credit (来源…). [...]

  4. [...] Sears 不得不在黑色星期五关闭以增强网站。这个维护页面为用户提供更多的导航选项——比如Lands’ End, Parts Direct 和Sears Credit (来源…). [...]